Without Title for my Father who lived without
- Slides: 9
Without Title for my Father who lived without ceremony By: Diane Glancy
AS YOU READ Think about how Diane Glancy, a poet of Native American descent, portrays the life of the speaker’s father. It’s hard you know without the buffalo, the shaman, the arrow, but my father went out each day to hunt as though he had them. He worked in the stockyards. All his life he brought us meat. No one marked his first kill, no one sang his buffalo song. Without a vision he had migrated to the city and went to work in the packing house. When he brought home his horns and hides my mother said get rid of them. I remember the animal tracks of his car backing out the drive in snow and mud, the aerial on his old car waving like a bow string. I remember the silence of his lost power, the red buffalo painted on his chest. Oh, I couldn’t see it but it was there, and in the night I heard his buffalo grunts like a snore.
Background n n n After WWII, the U. S. government’s Urban Relocation Program promised Native Americans better jobs if they moved to cities and tried to join mainstream society. In “Without Title”, the speaker’s father moved from the land life he loved to the city. In the poem, the speaker seems to sense quite a bit of loss of culture. The speaker’s father seems to have a connection to his heritage, but no outward signs of it. This suggests that parts of that culture may be lost.
Theme n n Personal identity is strong when a person feels connected to community, family and traditions. The subtitle reveals the poem is about the speaker’s father; “lived without ceremony” may mean he was common and ordinary; “Without Title may suggest an identity theme, or the lack or loss of identity.
Compare and Contrast n Glancy contrasts two worlds in her poem: the Native American lifestyle and mainstream American society. The ideas that are being compared: the hunting of animals in the wild with the “hunting” of animals in the stockyard; the meat from a kill with the meat from a slaughterhouse; the animal tracks in the wilderness with the “animal tracks” of her father’s car; the string from a hunting bow with the aerial of her father’s car moving in the wind; buffalo grunts vs. a snore.
Repetition n n Glancy uses repetition, or repeated sounds, words, phrases, or line, to emphasize an important idea and create unity in the poem. Repetition of the word buffalo may suggest that, like the buffalo, the Native American culture so important to her father’s identity, is close to extinction.
Analysis n n The first four lines show the father struggles in life without his ancestral traditions such as hunting. The phrase “as though he had them”, makes us understand that the father imagines he hunts everyday.
Analysis n n In the last three lines, the poet explains that she could not physically see her father’s loss, but could feel its presence. “in the night I heard his buffalo grunts like a snore. ” this SIMILE illustrates how the father’s traditions are still alive in his dreams and in his soul.